Tuesday 12, July 2016 was a good day for lawyers in the country as one of Africa’s leading electronic legal research and practice managers, Law Pavilion, raised the bar and the bench.
The event which took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja was jointly organized by Law Pavilion and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS).
Those in attendance were the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, three former Chief Justices of Nigeria – Mohammed Lawal Uwais, Dahiru Musdapher and Mariam Aloma Mukhtar – along with serving Justices of the Supreme Court as well as eminent retired jurists and the cream of the legal profession.
Tagged ‘Words in Gold’, the event was a celebration of Nigeria’s foremost jurists through the years and the introduction of revolutionary software called “LawPavilion Prime” to the audience before the eventual launch at the forthcoming NBA conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The ‘Words in Gold’ awards, according to Prof. Deji Adekunle, Director General of NIALS, is a “remarkable endeavour that will continue to shed light on the invaluable contributions that have gone unnoticed and uncelebrated in the Nigerian judicial system.”
In his address on the topic, ‘Data as the New Equity – New Approaches for Enhanced Justice Delivery and Administration’, Vice President Osinbajo emphasised how the legal industry is being transformed for the better by technology.
He said the manual method of conducting legal research to find relevant authorities was extremely tedious and time consuming, noting, however that generous time and effort is now being saved and put to better use because of the adoption of electronic legal research.
The new software, LawPavilion Prime, not only provides information but goes further to trace the history of a principle of law or practice, highlight other cases in which the principle has been enunciated upon and where necessary, bring up conflicting judgments relating to such principle.
VP Osinbajo lauded the efforts and innovations of LawPavilion whose products could further aid delivery and administration of Justice in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of LawPavilion, Ope Olugasa, unveiled the company’s newest software, LawPavilion Prime, Africa’s first case analytics software, stating that “Today, we unveil the ultimate breakthrough in our quest for making the task of legal research easier and less burdensome for the judiciary.”
With key features including Case Analytics, Laws in Action (an Annotation of the Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Chain Reference, Text Books and Journals, LawPavilion Prime will change the way legal research is conducted, not only in Nigeria but ultimately across the globe.
Also at the event, big wigs in the legal profession in Nigeria witnessed Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria (past and present) being recognised and given awards.
There were Category Awards which saw many justices carting award numerous awards in recognition of their work while on the Bench of the hallowed Chambers of the Supreme Court.
The awards followed a thorough research and analysis conducted by the NIALS and were given in recognition of the profound pronouncements and judgments that have shaped justice delivery and administration in Nigeria, thus paving the way for more advancement in the judicial system of the country.
The MD said, “We at LawPavilion know that the Nigerian judiciary labours very hard – largely without notice – to further the cause of justice to save lives, to save jobs, to rescue the broken, to free the wrongfully detained and to give justice to all, safe in the strength of the judicial ethos that where there is a right, there surely is a remedy in the courts.”
These prestigious awards were divided into three main categories and were presented by Vice President Prof. Osinbajo SAN.
The first category related to eminent premiers in the Judiciary namely the first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria , Justice Adetokunbo Ademola CJN (rtd), ably represented by his grandson, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division; and the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar CJN (rtd).
The second category was for recognized and celebrated Justices of the Supreme Court who delivered judgments that resulted in legislative or legal reforms, forming turning points in Nigerian Jurisprudence. The recipients were: Justice Vahe Bairamian JSC (rtd) who received the award for his judgment on practice and procedure in MADUKOLU & ORS. v. NKEMDILIM (1962) LPELR-24023 (SC); while Justice Kayode Eso JSC (rtd) was duly recognized for his judgment on Constitutional Law in MILITARY GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE V. OJUKWU(1986)LPELR-3186 (SC).
The award for exceptional contribution to Commercial Law was given to Justice Uthman Mohammed JSC (rtd) for his erudite judgment in M.V Lupex v. Niger Overseas (2003) LPELR-3195(SC); while Justice George Baptist Ayodola Coker JSC (rtd) was celebrated for his notable judgment on Criminal Law in Njovens&Ors v. State (1973) LPELR-2042 (SC).
In the third category were justices recognized for their courage, literary writing style, depth and breadth of reasoning, forthrightness and thoroughness at the upper bench as symbols of judicial excellence.
In this category were Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais CJN (rtd), Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe JSC (rtd) and Justice Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa JSC (rtd).
These awards, according to the organizers, were given in recognition of their immeasurable and invaluable contribution to the judiciary, government and people of Nigeria and to celebrate the illustrious jurists for their decades of selfless service to the nation.